Posts Tagged "customer service tips"


Every so often, we like to scour the Internet for articles and tips on topics we think our readers will love. Join us for today’s edition of Round ’em Up, where we’re rounding up the best of the web finding advice for providing excellent customer service when you’re a handmade business owner.

photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via photopin cc

photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives via photopin cc

Before you start thinking about your own shop as the owner, take a minute to remember the last time you were a customer. What was the experience like the last time you shopped in a big-box multi-departmental store? In a small, local shop or restaurant? Online at a site like Etsy? Take a minute to list out the best and worst examples of customer service you’ve experienced from the customer’s end, and keep those tips handy when you craft your own plan for rocking the customer service in YOUR biz.

Then keep reading, because we’ve got more tips in store for you!

  • Tim at Handmadeology discusses the idea that in today’s world of online buying, it sometimes feels like our customers want MORE from us all the time, but they want to pay a lot LESS than they ever have before. Try to resist getting caught up in the emotion of that situation, and work with it instead! Tim’s list of 4 Tips for Stellar Customer Service will have you sailing to the top in no time, and your customers will come back for the service every time – deal, or no deal. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last bit!)
  • At Going Home to Roost, Bonnie offers 5 tips to help you become a Customer Service Whiz. Among them? Think like your customer! Put yourself in their shoes to encourage positive communication, and try to find the good things in every complaint. After all, a complaint today can potentially improve your business tomorrow! Besides, as Bonnie points out, when you go the extra mile for a customer then they’re going to sing your praises across the Internet, and you can’t buy marketing that good!
  • At the Creative Income Blog, they’ve got an idea that just might make your customers all come back for more: treat every customer like they’re going to be a repeat customer. Of course, you can’t guarantee that everyone will return for a 2nd (or 200th) purchase, but if you treat all of your customers like you’re building a relationship with them and you want it to last, the odds are definitely in your favor. Read more about Encouraging Repeat Customers from Creative Income.
  • Whether you business is based online or in-person, your customer service is the make-or-break scenario for getting happy customers. Victoria Tane offers tips for Creating an Unforgettable Customer Service Experience at Handmadeology. Her tips are designed for selling in person, either in a brick-and-mortar store or at a craft show. But her advice, which runs the gamut from creating a welcoming environment to inviting customers to come back and see you again, will work for any situation where you’re representing your business to the public.
photo credit: jm3 via photopin cc

photo credit: jm3 via photopin cc

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the articles we’ve pulled together for you today! If there’s a topic you’d like us to cover in the next Round ’em Up, leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear your feedback, and we hope you’ll come back and visit us again sometime!

Read More
Time-Saving Tip: FAQ Pages

Time-Saving Tip: FAQ Pages


Posted By on Oct 28, 2013

 

As a small business owner, you probably wear a lot of hats. Sometimes you’re the CEO, other times you’re the CFO, and still other times you’re the Shipping Department Head or the Quality Control Manager. Some of this just can’t be helped, but if you find yourself spending a lot of time being the Email Response Team Leader (aka, The Only Person Who Answers Customer E-mails), then it might be possible to streamline that process a little bit and free up some valuable time in your work day.

faq

This is where the FAQ Page comes in. FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions (and in fact, if your customers aren’t particularly web-savvy then you might want to spell it out that way rather than using the standard abbreviation), and it’s a page where you put answers to the questions your customers are most likely to ask. That way your customers will spend more time reading your web site to find the information they need and less time e-mailing you with their questions. They get the answers they’re looking for and you get more time to focus on your business: win, meet win.

Just to be clear: the FAQ page isn’t the right solution for every business. It’s not the Magic Cure for lost time, and it’s not guaranteed to help you OR your customers.

Could an FAQ page save you time and help your customers? Answer the following questions to find out:

  1. Do your customers regularly send you e-mails or convos through your web site or shop site to ask you questions about your products or your company?
  2. Do you frequently get asked the SAME question by several different customers?
  3. When your customers ask you questions, do you usually give them all the same basic answers?

If you answered NO for most of these questions, then chances are you don’t need an FAQ page. This is probably because your customers already get the information they need from your web site, or their questions are too specific and individual to be answered by a common response. If you answered YES, then keep reading…

Here are some tips to build an FAQ page that will serve your customers AND save you time, neatly arranged in the format of an FAQ page for your entertainment and education:

How do I find the questions I should include on my FAQ page?
Write down a list of the questions you get asked the most often via e-mail or customer convo. If you don’t KNOW which questions are the most frequent ones, try making a list of every question you receive for a period of one month. At the end of the month, you should see the questions that are asked most frequently. If there are a lot of questions, consider breaking down your FAQ page into categories.

What do I do with the questions once I have them?
Pair up those questions with a response. Keep it short and to the point, but make sure to include enough detail to fully answer the question. If a question has several parts, consider breaking them up in to separate questions instead of making one answer overly wordy.

How should I set up the FAQ page on my site?
When you type out your FAQ page, use bold or color differences between the question and the corresponding answer to make it easy for users to see where one question/answer set ends and another begins. As an example, we used bold pink text for questions and regular black text for answers.

How will my customers find my FAQ page?
Make it as user-friendly as possible. Link to your FAQ page on the main landing page of your site, or use the header or footer navigation if that’s how customers normally move from one page to another on your site. It’s not a bad idea to put the link to your FAQ page in more than one spot, either. After all, the FAQ page won’t do you any good if your customers can’t find it. Don’t have a stand-alone web site? Put your FAQs directly into your Etsy Shop Policy page or set it up as a stand-alone page on your blog.

How do I get my customers to use my FAQ page?
This may to take a little time, if your customers haven’t been accustomed to using an FAQ page for your business in the past. If a customer e-mails you with a question that’s already answered on your site, simply give them a quick response like this: “Thank you so much for your e-mail! If you look at our site’s FAQ page here (link them to it), you’ll find the answer to your question and several others. If your question isn’t fully answered in the FAQs, please feel free to e-mail us again and we’ll fill in all the details you need.” Keep this standardized e-mail in your documents so you can just copy/paste it any time you get an FAQ e-mail question.

What else do I need to do?
At the bottom of your FAQ page it might be a good idea to write something like “If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for here, feel free to contact us at info@mybiz.com.” That way your customers know that you’re still available to assist them if their question is too specific to be an FAQ. And don’t forget – if you use Patterned for your custom orders, put a link to your Patterned information on your FAQ page so your customers will know where to find their custom order updates!

It will take a little time to set up an FAQ page, but in the long run that’s time you’ll save, not having to answer the same e-mail every week.

Have you found success with an FAQ page for your business? Leave us a comment and tell us what works for you and your customers!

photo credit: mazzwyn via photopin cc

Read More